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Perhaps It Means A Little Bit More…

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Christmas is a season full of symbolism and fulfillment of prophesy, which is something that I’ll be getting into later into the month.  Today, however, I want to focus on what Christmas means, not only through scripture, but through the memories and special traditions that make up what Christmas means to each of us.

I asked my family to share with me some of their favorite traditions that make up the true
meaning of Christmas to them.  I loved collecting these and seeing how many we had in common.  

Here are their responses…

Your favorite things that make up Christmas…

PictureMom : Carol

Wow..too many of them.  I just love when everyone comes to our house, and sitting together in the family room.  The craziness of everyone opening gifts.  The kids would disappear with their gifts and the adults would be left to talk. Having dinner on Christmas Eve and then going to church together as a family for the service. 

I also like listening to BE Taylor’s Christmas and Mannheim Steamroller CDs while putting up the Christmas tree.  Buying special ornaments for my kids every year, that they will take and put on their own family trees one day.  Looking for our own favorite ornaments to put up on the tree.  We each have our own, “it’s not Christmas until such-and-such ornament is hung”, so it’s fun finding those in the boxes.  

I love the tradition George and his dad started of each year passing back and forth the “old man” that has now been passed down to George and Andy.  Writing the clues and watching the “seeker” searching on Christmas morning for the clues that will lead him to the hidden location of him.  It’s fun getting new pieces to add to each of our Christmas collections each year: Nutcrackers for Andy, Snow globes and then the Willow Tree Nativity set for you, Snowmen for Kristin, Bobble heads for Dad and Santa’s for me.  

Another new tradition that we’ve done in recent years is that if we know of a family who is struggling, to send them an anonymous gift card.

PictureBrother : Andy

I really like the tradition that started with Dad and Pop Pop that has continued on with me…it doesn’t feel like Christmas until that little hillbilly has been found.  Singing Silent Night, last verse and chorus acapella.  Everyone getting together in their jammies, either in the morning of or the night before Christmas, to open gifts.  Putting my Jiminey Cricket ornament on the tree.  That’s part of the Christmas experience for me.

PictureDad : George

Finding Christmas at Stone and Thomas, not a tradition, just a Christmas memory. Grandma’s iced maple cookies.  An elephant in the manger scene.  Coconuts under the tree.  Trimming the tree with the family.  

When I was little, our stockings had an orange in the toe and comic book up the leg and candy and other goodies filled up the rest of it.  I remember helping my daddy put up the choo-choo train platform, doing the wiring to put lights in every house.  

I also remember sneaking down to the living room to turn on the lights and Christmas music to “set the mood” before waking up the kids and then everyone going to Kristin’s room to get her up and then all go down together to see what’s under the tree.

PictureSister : Kristin

Kristin loves Christmas.  She’s never been a big fan of Santa Clause or his elves, but she loves singing the songs, from hymns to Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  She especially enjoys spending time with family that the family visits with on Christmas Eve and day.

PictureMe : Bree

I love Christmas time, it’s one of my favorite times of the year.  Some of my favorite traditions and things that make up the true meaning of Christmas to me include putting up the Christmas tree while listening to Christmas music and finding our favorite ornaments.  The memories that each one of them hold opens up fun discussions and a time of reminiscing.  We should call it our “Memory Tree” more than our Christmas tree!

Gathering together at Aunt Sandy’s for our Christmas Eve dinner before heading to church together.  I love squeezing into the pew with my loved ones and singing the last verse of Silent Night, voices raising loud and clear without accompaniment; the warmth of a single candle on my face and remembering ages past with loved ones by my side singing the same verse.  Listening to Kristin sing along to the hymns at church, especially the “glorias” in Angels We Have Heard on High.

Opening gifts clad in pajamas on Christmas Eve while listening to BE Taylor’s Christmas and Mannheim Steamroller CDs.  The excitement on each loved ones faces as they unwrap their treasures.  Spending time in the kitchen, baking cookies or preparing the Christmas day meal.  Christmas is magical, spiritual and so full of life.

I also asked a few friends to share with me their favorite Christmas traditions.  Here’s their answers…

Christmas Traditions of Friends

PictureFriend : Tiffany

There are two Christmas traditions I’d like to share… 

The first: Every year my family gets together on Christmas Eve to have a birthday party for Jesus. Of course, we realize it isn’t the actual date of Jesus’ birth, but it’s a time where we forget about Santa and presents and all that comes with Christmas to really focus in on the reason we celebrate in the first place. We gather together at my grandparents’ house — about 15 of us — sitting around in the living room on the couch, chairs we bring in, or on the floor. We sit together with only the lights from the Christmas tree glowing. During the evening, some may read poems or stories they’ve found, some will play their guitars or the piano from the other room. We all sing together — usually the song Silent Night. Then, we each go around the room saying what we’re thankful for or sharing a favorite memory from the year. With how emotional my family is, this always brings lots of happy tears and Kleenex being passed around. Finally, we end the evening with some type of dessert (as a type of birthday cake for Jesus). It’s a very special night for my family when we come together with the sole purpose of praising God and thanking Him for all we’ve been blessed with.

Second tradition: Last year was the first time I was able to experience this special Christmas tradition. My husband’s family comes together every year to celebrate Christmas, but before any food is devoured or presents are unwrapped, they all sit down together in the family room. There, my husband’s father opens his Bible and reads us all the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth. It’s an opportunity for us to be reminded of why we have Christmas in the first place — to remember each of the details and thank God for sending His only son, even when He knew what would come later. Someday, when my husband and I have our own children and celebrate Christmas Day in our own home, we both hope to continue this tradition.

PictureFriend : Becka

We don’t have many traditions, but we do go to look at Christmas lights in the neighborhood on Christmas night and this year we’ll be doing the Christmas bell countdown.  Some of our favorite treats that we fix each year are cinnamon raisin bars and Christmas morning breakfast casserole.  Yum!

PictureFriend : Susie

Family traditions growing up included attending the candlelight church service to sing carols with my family and going home to read the Christmas story together before opening the immediate family’s gifts.  Then on Christmas day, all my cousins, aunts and uncles would go to my grandparent’s house for dinner and more gifts.  Now that my grandparents are gone, we still get together on Christmas day and do a gift exchange while reading the Kris Kringle story and everytime we hear the word “and” we pass the gift along.  Whatever gift you end up with at the end of the story you get to open and keep.

I’m married now with our child.  No real traditions set up here YET, but we got a real Christmas tree this year.  I’ve never had a real tree, so my husband decided we would get one and set up our own traditions as a family! Excited to see what we will do that is meaningful and lasting!

PictureFriend : Erin

It wouldn’t be Christmas without…

  • Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
  • Pillsbury Cinnamon and Orange Rolls on Christmas morning
  • Spending the days before Christmas putting ribbon, bows, and decorations on the presents for my parents 
  • The 7UP Christmas Countdown Cottonball Santa (from 1989)

So see, Christmas is not just the endless wishlists, long lines at the shops, and a guy standing outside in the cold ringing a bell.  It’s not just wrapping piles of gifts and garbage bags filled with wrinkled paper. It’s not the hustle and bustle or the Christmas pageants at little Johnny’s school.  It’s not the tinsel on the tree or the extravagant gifts underneath.

Christmas means something different to everyone, but despite our various answers, there is a common thread.  It’s not what comes from the store and is wrapped up in pretty paper.  It’s the people that you spend time with and the things that allow you to enjoy each other’s company.  

So if you find yourself getting caught up and fretting about finding the perfect gift for the loved ones on your list, remember that perhaps Christmas means a little bit more than anything you can find at the store!

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions or things that make Christmas…well Christmas?

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  1. I wasn’t sure how this post was going to come together or what the meaning behind it would be, but oh, I love this. It was so neat reading different people’s favorite parts or traditions. And I loved seeing a photo of your friends and family. I’m glad I got to include my input. Thanks Bree! I’ll be sharing this.

    1. Tiffany,
      I’m glad you were pleasantly surprised by the post! I loved collecting all of favorite things about Christmas from everyone. It was fun to see it all come together, especially since my friends are from all over the U.S. (Vegas, Minnesota, Georgia, and WV). Thank you again for being a part of this and for sharing it with your readers! Hugs!

    1. Thanks Becka! I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to include you in my post! I pray that you and the family have such a blessed Christmas…in the middle of the desert this year. Much love to you!

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